The basket burial treaty

Mr. Mafulul Lek (right) and Mr. Sati Mangut, in front of the Ron Cultural Institute (© Uwe Seibert, 2004)

Here is another war story written down by Mafulul Lek, a former journalist from Daffo. It describes a trick used by the Daffo people in a war against their eastern neighbors, the Bokkos and Butura people. In the end, the Eastern Ron people called the British for help, who defeated the Daffo people with their cannon.

Ɓuran ti cet

Wa’ Ɗafo si Run ndee si kir ɓur, si mbayat, si nafwaasai fat canan. Wa’ si ringai lanani ti ɓuri shak. Si katis ka lan ma han. Lau nai ta furai cwai sis. Ti furis mashar-hai. Si gam ɗam ma masayi wet.

Ɗafo si niyis: “Ka ca masai fat halyang kwa, a nyaan! Ca ɗafai lan mma ca han han ti. Ka ca tik a ɓur a kil mma ca kirai yo lan ma hani kwa gbum! Naaf mma a tik a kul ɓur ɗiin a kil mma caa wan a han tihi, a tek ɓur ti mgbang.” Si tek cet, si niyis Run: “Hu shitai! Mma Maɗafo mai a tik a kir ɓur ɗiin a kil mama ca nyai yo lan ma han sani, Ɓwe ti kir Run hu har hayash mminin ma Ɗafo ti cetash. Andai ɗes, mma Maarun mai a tik a kir ɓur ɗiin a kil sani, Ɗafo si har hayash mmu ti cetash a ɓuri.”

Ɗafo si niyis Run: “Ngga’ mama caa wan a masayi, yit mai. Cet man, caa wan a ɓuri na a lan a nani. Ɓur ndai ca ɓuran la na a lan a nani, ɓa ca han han na, ca cu ca, ca kaf. Lan sani mai, a mun mmican ma hani shak. Caa wan a ɓur ceti na a ndik. Ca kabokis Da Ɓwe, ta tek ceti la ta na a shinggil a kil. Mma tahun ca yes, ca dwaan ceti na, ca nii, Da Ɓwe a halai hwash mmicani ndai. Ka ca tyaak a mbayat ɗiin na a nani kwa. Ɓa ca han han ti na kek, ca cu ca, ca kaf. Caa yo nyaas mi. Ahun mma na tahun ca yes, ca ɗusis cet sani yis na a swyai mma ca ɓuri ca nii, Ɓwe ti kwet ti kabok mmicani ndai, ca cu fo ti mbayat na a kili kek.”

Shak si nii, findel a hyau. Nai si ɓur ceti ti a shinggil kil. Si makar, si wis a wurai. Ɗafo Maanggai nai, wa’ si kon a mayes ta fulul ti mwan, si tek ceti ɗamisi. Si tik a vo swyayi ti kyak fat an si masai si nyaas Runi.

Ti le’, si tik a matof ti a kili si Runi. Si shitai fwyai mama an si ɓur ceti ti, si niyis: “Ma na a ngga’ mama an ca masayi ahun wet?” Shak si nii: “Andii ti.” Taa tei si ɓwai fwyai ma ceti la, si shitis ceti ti kwa. Ɗafo si niyis: “A nyaan, Da Ɓwe a halai hwash mmicani ndai, ahun wet?” Wamai ɗak ta dish shem mmis, si nii: “Hai ndai ti matan! Findel a mawal!” Si nii: “Fat naaf a mwaat, ca ɓur, andai ti, ca ɓuran ɓur tima caa fwaahan a hai, hai ti lanani. Cet mama Ɓwe ti tekan la ta na a fwyayi, a mun yo ɓur tima ca a hai. Ɓwe ti tekan can ɓuri la ta na a la ndai. Ca han han njican na a lan a nani amwash.” Shak si palanget Ɓwe, si makar.

Taa tei si kon, si shunjo, Run si nii mgbi’ mawan a tongai gwang ma han ti a lani. Taa Ɗafo Maanggai ndee si mun a ndaret ti! Nai si shitai Run a nggik-nggik ti a lan, si masiris hai taa fi, si kwanai ti a lan, si hyaak mbolosh. Si ɗafai a ra yo ɗafayi kek, mama si yu ti shaati a wur. Lan mama ndee wa’ si masai ɗamani ti, yit mai, si laal yo Lashom ahun Kil ma lim ɓur.

Si nii, ta a fa mandek ti Run a Lashomi ti, ndee Runi si yu ti hwash a Fyam, si kul Masara, ɓa ta weris ɗam mama Ɗafo si masayi. Gip si nii, ahun wa’, Mutiɓutura ɗiin ti, ndee ti nii, wa’ fe mmit mi, si wu mandek a ɓur tima Run si Ɗafo ndee si fwaa a hayi. Nai wa’ ti lakis naafara mmit, ta yes a Ɗafo, ta cu folal, ɓa Ɗafo si mbayat si Run, si cu Runi a wer ma fe mmiti. Wa’ nai a ɓur tima naafara mmiti a cu folal a Ɗafohi, Ɗafo ndee si tiket a hek mar ɗiin mama ti fuk fiyang. Nai ti gam ɗam ma masayi wet, ti niyis Run si yu a Fyam, si fwal Fyam, si kulis Masara taa shinggil ti Bauci, ɓa ta yes, ta weris ɗam mama Ɗafo si masisayi shak.

Masarahi nai ta yes a ɓuri ti bindiga ma mgbang mama si laal yo igwa. Ɗafo si shitai, si nii, Run si kul Masara. Ca masai tite? Fe ma sum fulal si langis a nanan a hai ta ngga’ mama mi wan a masai ti Masarahi. Wa’ ɗanggat ta nii, si honis Runi ka Masarahi ahwis, ɓa ta zut ti bara, ta ndek la. Maful ta nii, wa’! Wa’ si honis, yit ɓa ta ɓwai shinggil la ti lwa’ nzis ti didam, ta gu’ la ti. Wa’ ma bara nai ta fa mwyai bara mmisi a ra. Ta nii, ma zuti ti, Masarahi wa syap ta fa kayi tagun ti barahi la. Wa’ naaf ma lwa’ ti didami nai ko ta manis. Ta kir gor, ta nii, yit ma wan a matik a ɓwai shinggil ti lwa’ ti didam nzisi, ta ndek ti Masarahi la kwa. Masara nai ta ɓwaal Ɗafohi ti igwa. Ta pak ti kanggyak. Si tok lingling. Gip si tik a gang a Margesh, gip si tik a gang a Mangguna. Gip si rang a tonan fat ɗaam ma lan. Hani ti, si nii, Masara ndee a cu Ɗafohi, ta weret Mutiɓutura tima ti nii, Ɗafo ndee si walet fe a heki, sin a ɓur si Run.

Taa nani ti, si nii, Masara ndee a masirai shinggil ti Ɗafo ka ti Naf a Ne ti ɓoli. Sin Run mama ndee si kul Masarahi, si nii ndee si mba mbayat ahun ɓol ɗiin si Masarahi kwa gbum. Runi, sin mi: Run-afit-Hayo’, Ɓutura, Manggor, Mandar si Mbar.

The basket burial treaty

Once a long war broke out between Daffo and the Eastern Ron tribes. They were fighting all over the land. They had no land left to farm on. They began to suffer from hunger. They found themselves in big trouble and didn’t know what to do.

The Daffo people said: “Let’s not act like fools, brothers!” They suggested that they should set aside some land on which they would farm. They should then stop fighting in that special farming zone. Whoever started fighting in the farming zone should be guilty of a capital offence. They took a basket and said to the other Ron: “Look! If it is a Daffo man who starts fighting in the demilitarized zone, may God cause the other Ron to collect our heads in this basket! Likewise, if it is one of the Eastern Ron who starts a war in this zone, may the Daffo people collect your heads in this basket in the war!”

The Daffo people suggested: “This is what we will do: We will bury this basket here in this field. Thus we have buried the war in this field, so that we may farm here and get food to eat. This land will be for all of us to farm on. We will bury the basket here in this ground. We will ask God to take the basket away from this place. If we come back here tomorrow and no longer find the basket here, we will know that God has heard our prayer. Let’s no longer fight in this place! Let us farm here only, so we may get enough food to eat. After all, we are brothers! But if tomorrow we will still find the basket in the hole, we know that God has not answered our prayer and we should continue fighting in the demilitarized zone.”

Everyone agreed. Then they buried the basket in the ground. They took leave from each other and went home. Then, allegedly, the Daffo people came back to the place at night and removed the basket themselves. Then they remade the grave exactly like as it were the day before.

The following morning, they met there again with the other Ron. They asked their eastern brothers whether the grave was still intact. They all replied that it was intact. Then they opened the grave and found that the basket was no longer there. The Daffo people told their brothers that they should be happy, since God had answered their prayers. Someone cleared his nose and they said that this was the sign of God’s consent. They said that like they would bury a man when he died, they had buried the war which they were fighting daily in all that region. That the basket which God had taken away from the grave stood for the war they were fighting. That God had taken it away from them. That they should now resume their farming here in this zone, eat food and have some peace of mind. They all thanked God and departed.

Within a few days, the Eastern Ron went in mass to take up farming in the demilitarized zone. But the Daffo had only set a trap for them! When they saw them busily farming, they went around them secretly and ambushed them and killed many of them. They left only a handful of some alive, who went home with the mourning. The place where this happened is called “Lashom” or “demilitarized zone” to this day.

Following this incident, the Eastern Ron are said to have gone to the neighboring Pyem tribe and asked them to call the Whiteman to come and punish the Daffo people for what they had done. Another version is that a Butura woman had lost many of her children in the tribal war with the Daffo people. So she asked her husband to come to Daffo and bribe them, so they would fight with the Eastern Ron, in revenge of her children. But then, in that war, the Daffo people again killed one of her sons whom she liked very much. Then she didn’t know what to do. Therefore she went to the Pyem and asked them to call the Whiteman from Bauchi to come and punish the Daffo people for all they had done to them.

The Whiteman then came to Daffo with an artillery gun. When the Daffo people saw the white man coming, they asked themselves what to do. Two distinguished fighters started a dispute on how to deal with the white man. The first one said that they should leave the white man and the other Ron to him to deal with. He would use his supernatural power to strike them with a lightning. The second said no. They should leave the matter to him, he would use his supernatural power to open up the earth and cave them in. The one with the thunder immediately let the thunder struck down. But the Whiteman absorbed the lightning shock. Then the man with the elephant’s second-self was annoyed. He was no longer willing to use his own power to open up the earth and destroy the Whiteman. The Whiteman then returned the fire by shelling them with the artillery gun. He displaced them completely. They ran away in all directions. Some survivors went to Bargesh, others to Monguna. Some entered into caves like wild animals. Thus, the Whiteman defeated the Daffo people and the Butura woman’s children, who had all died in the war with Daffo, were revenged.

From Daffo, the Whiteman brought under his control what is now called Ron-Kulere Chiefdom. The Eastern Ron who brought the Whiteman never had to fight against him. The Eastern Ron comprises of Bokkos, Butura, Mangor, Mandar and Mbar.

2 responses to “The basket burial treaty

  1. “Thus, the Whiteman defeated the Daffo people ” yes, this was accomplished on 25th July 1908 !!! From that date, the Daffo community came under the modern administration. as a result, the medieval aboriginal hamlets of Daffo that were stand-alone ‘nations’ lost their pristine autonomy.

  2. Mr.Mangut Mangorong

    I really appreciate the writer of this text it shows how powerful the Daffo group of the Ron tribe were most powerful in times of the military strenght.A point of currection; the area of the treaty was today’s “tashan maikarfi” which means the base(station) of the strong named during the encounter with the hausa/fulani around the 1884 Uthman Danfodio’s jihad

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s